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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Shaping Up

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this set of 27 cards? How do you know?

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Chain of Changes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange the shapes in a line so that you change either colour or shape in the next piece along. Can you find several ways to start with a blue triangle and end with a red circle?

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Triangle Animals

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?

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Square Corners

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?

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More on Mazes

Stage: 2 and 3

There is a long tradition of creating mazes throughout history and across the world. This article gives details of mazes you can visit and those that you can tackle on paper.

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Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

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Polydron

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.

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Order the Changes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?

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Creating Cubes

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.

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Two by One

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.

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Calcunos

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?

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Cover the Camel

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you cover the camel with these pieces?

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Tessellate the Triominoes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

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Seven Flipped

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.

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A City of Towers

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many different ways can they build their houses?

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Brush Loads

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.

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Making Cuboids

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?

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Egyptian Rope

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?

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Sticks and Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?

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Growing Garlic

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.

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Seven Pots of Plants

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.

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Tri.'s

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?

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Room Doubling

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.

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Tri-five

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all the different shapes that can be made by joining five equilateral triangles edge to edge.

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The Moons of Vuvv

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is between each super-eclipse?

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Map Folding

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?

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Waiting for Blast Off

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?

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Knight's Swap

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?

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Single Track

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train can continue its journey?

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Make Pairs

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the rules.

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Two Dots

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.

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Inside Triangles

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?

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Four Colours

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.

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Two on Five

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?

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Counting Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?

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Dienes' Logiblocs

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the shapes in the picture?

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Eight Queens

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.

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Making Squares

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

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Quadrilaterals

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?

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Ice Cream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.

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Paw Prints

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?

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Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?

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Three Sets of Cubes, Two Surfaces

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many models can you find which obey these rules?

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Fifteen Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you use the information to find out which cards I have used?

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Shapes in a Grid

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?

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Celtic Knot

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download the cards or have a go on squared paper.

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Hexpentas

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons together? How will you know you have found all the ways?

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Neighbours

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10 are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the largest possible number of houses in the square?

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Half Time

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey matches?